If you dream of a bike trip but you haven’t had the time or the money or you think your bike is not suitable for the challenge; we have good news for you. One of the best ways to enter the fascinating world of cycling is to start with a weekend trip (1 or 2 nights).
10 Tips for your first bike trip
If you enjoy your first trip, you will most likely end up falling in love with cycling. We want to see more and more people traveling the world by bicycle, so here we share 10 practical tips to make you fall in love from your first trip.
1. Distance is not important
There is a myth that to travel by bicycle you need to have superhuman abilities and be a hardened adventurer. The truth is that you have the ability to venture as far as you want, as long as you set a destination according to your abilities and roll at your own pace. You will always find a good destination a few kilometers from your city!
2. Give your trip a goal
One way to make the trip much more interesting is to give it a personal goal. For example, you can plan a visit to a national park, visit a nearby town or city, or attend an event in another city.
3. Plan your route
One of the great differences of traveling by bicycle is that not only the final destination is important, but the journey itself is part of the adventure. Study the different alternatives you have to reach your destination and choose the most attractive one. Find places of interest where you can stop to rest and refill water and food. Plan constant stops for a snack and hydration.
It is not forbidden to take advantage of other means of transport to reach your destination. On some occasions, whether due to time, distance or that some section is not worth traveling by bicycle, you can take a bus or a train. Another alternative is to arrive by bicycle and return home by bus or train. It’s up to you.
4. Don’t wait to have the most sophisticated bicycle
The ideal would be to have a touring bike , but it is not essential and they are also expensive. The safest thing is that the bike you already have can work for you to start. As long as it is comfortable over long distances and that it allows you to carry the necessary load, it is more than enough to start.
5. You don’t need to have the best saddlebags to get started
What’s more, if you don’t have saddlebags you can improvise. You don’t need a lot of luggage for a weekend trip. You can start using the basket of your bike, adapt a backpack to the rear rack or use the saddlebags you already have. Later, if you fell in love with cycling trips, you can find some saddlebags according to your needs.
6. Learn basic mechanics
You don’t have to be a mechanic guru. If you give your bicycle regular service, you will reduce the probability of suffering a breakdown on the road. On weekend trips the most common setback is a flat tire. As long as you know how to patch a camera , the operation of your gears and brakes can survive your first trip.
7. Prepare according to the weather
Every trip is different so there is no single list of what to pack for a bike trip. For a short weekend trip, you will most likely not even require camping equipment since you can stay in a small hotel and eat at local restaurants that you find on your route.
As for clothing. In hot climates it is recommended to wear cool, well ventilated clothing and a hat to protect yourself from the sun. In cold climates , it is best to wear several layers. Remember that you will be in constant movement so you will not need large jackets. A thin wool shirt or sweater can be a great alternative since this material does not absorb water, like cotton. Whether it’s hot or cold, it never hurts to wear a slim raincoat.
8. Use common sense and follow the rules of the road
Traveling the road on your bike can be very intimidating, we will not deny it. However, as long as common sense is used and you respect the rules of the road, your trip can be very safe. Just like when you pedal in the city, the main thing is to stay visible.
9. Invite more people or join a group
Although cycling can be practiced individually, we recommend that your first outing be done with company. It is not essential, but preferably you can invite someone with some experience to accompany you. It is not always easy to find a companion, so I recommend that you look in forums and social networks if there is a group of cyclists near you. If not, you can start one! There are different places where you can find someone to travel with.
10. Enjoy the trip
As we already mentioned, the final destination is not the only thing that counts. Enjoy the landscapes, meet new people and feel the freedom that the bicycle gives you. Remember that it is not a race, pedal at your own pace and stop from time to time to take a photo or just to contemplate.